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Math Puzzles and Games, Grades 6-8_ Over 300 Reproducible Puzzles that Teach Math and Problem Solving

Math Puzzles and Games, Grades 6-8_ Over 300 Reproducible Puzzles that Teach Math and Problem Solving

Product Summery


I love puzzles. One guy tries to make something to keep another guy out; there must be a way to beat it.

Richard Feynman
Nobel Laureate—Physics

This book contains more than 300 puzzles, ranging from relatively easy word puzzles to more difficult math brainteasers and requiring math skills from addition and subtraction to determining  probability and algebraic thinking. Here are the types of puzzles you will find within these pages:

Mathematical                                                                    Frame Games
Spatial/Visual                                                                   Cryptograms
Logical                                                                              Analogies
Analytical Reasoning                                                       Sequence
Word puzzles                                                                   Sudoku

By design, I have included a large number and broad spectrum of puzzles, providing teachers and students with multiple options.The puzzles are organized into chapters on numbers and  operations;geometry and measurement; mathematical reasoning; and algebra,statistics, and probability, to facilitate the instructor’s ability to enhance areas of the curriculum that are most  appropriate for their application, adding richness, change of pace, and reinforcement to the teaching and learning processes.

Some Puzzle-Solving Tips

Puzzle solving is sometimes like mathematical problem-solving, but at other times you have to move away from standard approaches to learning mathematics when solving these puzzles. Think  about the puzzles from different perspectives and with a sense of play. Consider some of the following:

• Can the puzzle be solved by breaking it down into simpler components?

• Do any patterns repeat often enough to suggest a prediction for “what comes next”?

• Does the puzzle have multiple answers, or at least one optional answer?

• Try thinking of ways to twist, bend, separate, or spin the puzzle.What does it look like backward, forward, upside down, and sideways?

• Does your answer make sense? Can you plug your answer back into the question to check all the parameters?

• If your answer seems absurd or counterintuitive, can you still defend it? Your answer may very well be correct, even though it seems strange or unusual.

• Don’t worry about how you might be seen if you can’t solve the puzzle. We all make mistakes, and no one can answer every question. Just relax, have a good time, and don’t worry about other people’s opinions.

Projects throughout the book marked with a symbol can be done using easy-to-find manipulatives, such as coins, blocks, and cut paper, to help students who may have trouble visualizing some  of the puzzles.

You may wonder why some language arts puzzles are included in a math puzzle book. Puzzles and problems such as analogies and analytical reasoning, which are more “language arts” in  nature,promote and augment critical thinking skills. Take the FRAME GAMES,for example. FRAME GAMES are words, letters, pictures, fonts, and the like, juxtaposed in a way to reveal a  common idiom, famous person,athlete, movie, song title, and so on. These include components of spatial/visual thinking, language, memory, vocabulary, and light- hearted fun. When people  solve even one puzzle correctly—and find the fun in doing so—they are eager to jump to the next challenge,even if it’s a puzzle of a different kind. It has also been found that solving a type of  puzzle in one area often triggers the mind into a flexible mode that makes it easier to solve problems and puzzles in other areas.

Another appealing feature of the FRAME GAMES is that they don’t always follow the standard left-to-right or top-to-bottom pattern for their solutions. Mental flexibility from different perspectives  is required. These puzzles can be used in a broad spectrum of classroom situations—from special education to warm-ups in calculus classes.You’ll find them placed strategically throughout the  book. They offer both a kind of mental break and a different type of thinking challenge.

There is no wrong way to use these puzzles. They are meant to be treated like a good watch or pair of shoes—to be used over and over again. And they never wear out!
Some application ideas are:

• As warm-ups to introduce a new element of math curriculum

• As a focus for competition among teams

• To inspire students to create their own versions to share with their classmates

• As a feature on posters or in class newsletters as the puzzle of the day, week, month, or holiday

• For group problem-solving

• To be sent home for sharing with friends and family

• As the basis for discussions on how the concepts of certain puzzles might have real-life applications and how they might be used with in different professions

• Chosen randomly, for the sole purpose of personal entertainment

I hope the solvers of these puzzles will see that a book of puzzles can be much more than just a puzzle book. It is also a wonderful way to be involved in creative and challenging “mindstretch”  exercises that will enhance a lifetime of thinking skills in so many ways.

So read on . . . and enjoy!

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